Sweetwater Police Seeking Ban of Synthetic Marijuana

Authorities say fake pot is available in some city gas stations and convenience stores

By Betty Yu
|  Wednesday, Apr 4, 2012  |  Updated 5:58 PM EDT
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Sweetwater Police Seek Ban of Synthetic Pot

AP/File

This Feb. 15, 2010 file photo shows a package of K2, a concoction of dried herbs sprayed with chemicals. The Sweetwater Police Department now wants to ban such synthetic marijuana products.

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The Sweetwater Police Department is seeking to ban synthetic marijuana, which has been linked to severe adverse effects like nausea and increased heart rates. Fake pot is not considered a tobacco product and authorities say it is readily available in some city gas stations and convenience stores.

The police department is urging the city commission to create an ordinance that bans the products in the city.

On Monday, detectives showed the commission various kinds of synthetic marijuana it seized from stores that were often labeled as incense.

Authorities also cautioned that synthetic cocaine – packaged and labeled as bath salt – may be the next synthetic drug to hit store shelves. So far, police have not found such products in Sweetwater.

Synthetic marijuana is a leafy substance that looks like marijuana. It is laced with different combinations of chemicals that give the user a high, police said.

These chemicals have caused some users to suffer heart attacks and psychosis.

“Synthetic marijuana’s long-term effects have not been tested and are not known,” said Sweetwater city spokeswoman Michelle Hammontree-Garcia.

State and federal authorities have already banned chemical compounds found in synthetic marijuana but its manufacturers are skirting the law by developing new chemical combinations that have not been outlawed, she added.

The city attorney will be making a recommendation on how to address the issue at the commission’s next meeting on May 7 at 8 p.m. in the commission chambers in City Hall, at 500 SW 109th Avenue.

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